Coon Rapids TOD grant applications are rejected

Two Transit Oriented Development (TOD) grant applications by the city of Coon Rapids have been rejected by the Metropolitan Council.

One was for a project at the Riverdale Commuter Rail station and another at the Foley Boulevard Park and Ride.

The Foley project would have been a planning activity, while the Riverdale station project would have improved access to the existing station.

“We are currently reviewing comments and the projects that were approved in hope of submitting successful applications for the next round of grants,” said City Manager Matt Fulton.

Had they been approved, the grants would have come from the Metropolitan Council’s Livable Communities Act Transit Oriented Development (TOD) program, a new funding source to enhance TOD development in and around light rail, commuter rail and bus transit stations.

The two Coon Rapids applications were for $230,000 to acquire property and construct a trail on the south side of the railroad tracks at Riverdale station and $40,000 to develop a land use plan for an area near the Foley Boulevard Park and Ride.

According to Marc Nevinski, city community development director, the trail project from 121st Avenue near Wedgewood Drive to the station platform is needed because the neighborhood immediately south of Riverdale station does not have convenient access to the station and in fact is cut off from the station by the railroad tracks and development.

A trail south of the station would provide convenient access for 394 properties north of 119th and east of Round Lake Boulevard, Nevinski said.

However, the proposed access point to the station would require the acquisition of a property in the neighborhood, although which one has not been identified, he said.

The Foley grant proposal was for funding for land use planning, market analysis, pedestrian/bicycle infrastructure planning, future street planning and creating a land acquisition and development staging plan.

According to Matt Brown, community development specialist, the city’s comprehensive plan identifies the area as a potential TOD site and major employment district and both the city and Anoka County have started to land bank in the area.

“It is envisioned that the TOD area will be redeveloped as a transit supportive employment district with multi-modal connections to the neighboring Evergreen industrial area and Northtown Mall employment centers,” Brown said.

Both grants would have required a small match from the city, which would have come from the HRA (Housing and Redevelopment Authority) budget.

Peter Bodley is at [email protected]